Heng Pu – cross step

The second of the Nine Steps to learn is the Heng Pu. By employing this technique, it is possible to move quickly and quietly in narrow passages, corridors, and hallways. In combat, this stance presents a smaller silhouette to the enemy. Also, when fleeing, one presents a smaller target.

Note that tracks left by this method appear to travel in two directions at once. Much of the actual penetration of the enemy camp will involve traversing narrow alleys between buildings, or flattening against a wall to remain concealed in its shadow. This requires a posture which overcomes the width of the shoulders. In order to move forward, one must move sideways.

Fig. 4-To assume this stance, stand with back to the wall, crouch slightly, bow the logs with knees pointing out, turn the head in the direction you wish to move and lower the shoulder facing that direction. This is an exaggerated fencing posture, with the lead toe at a 90-degree angle to the body and the rear foot facing 135 degrees away from it.

Fig. 5-Now cross-step in back with the rear leg, placing the toes past the lead foot, facing in their original direction. The toes of each foot now face those of the other. This extreme toe-in position is necessary to allow clearance for the lead leg which is drawn through as weight is shifted onto the rear leg. Step out with the lead leg to again assume the original position.

Fig. 6-Having developed some skill in this technique, begin to practice the Cross Step in front. Each of these has its uses and applications. Bear in mind the importance of the toe-in position during this exercise as well.

Fig. 7-The eyes scan the ground about three yards in front of the feet. Care must be taken not to look toward the enemy when moving, as the face may reflect moonlight and the eyes will shine if struck directly by a strong light. Further, obstacles which may lie in the path (stones, trip wires, etc.) are more readily visible. Using tile eyes ill this manner takes advantage of pupil dilation. When looking ahead, the pupils contract as light enters the eye. By focusing on the path, less fight enters the eye. The pupils expand and more is seen through the rod cells, resulting in a type of off-center vision.

Fig. 8-The Heng Pu is easily mastered and enables one to move quickly over great distances, making no sound, with little fatigue. Practice by moving flat along a wall without touching it. The step should be at least one yard per pace, at the speed of a double-quick march. Once this level has been achieved, crouch lower. This strengthens the legs and makes it possible to move quickly in low shadows and under windows.

Fig. 9-When passing a window in this manner, it is advisable to listen for sounds from inside. Should the occupants be silent or snoring, or be engaged in an activity which requires their attention, they are less likely to detect your presence. One should listen at both sides, before and after passing.


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